Kuching, Malaysia (ANTARA News) - Attractive promotion of tourism sites and direct flights to Indonesian regions are considered as keys to boost tourist visit to Indonesia.

"The active role of the government should be supported by the relevant stakeholders, particularly travel agents, who can participate in international tourism promotion events held in Malaysia. The travel agents can offer new tour packages to attract the people of Sarawak," Indonesian Consul General in Kuching Jahar Gultom said on the sidelines of a coordination meeting in Kuching here on Monday.

The West Kalimantan provincial government, says Gultom, should intensify the promotion of various aspects of tourist destinations, such as the arts and culture, culinary delicacies, and shopping attractions.

Some obstacles faced in boosting tourist visits to West Kalimantan are related to the lack of information on interesting tourist destinations in Indonesia and the direct flights from Malaysia to Indonesia, especially to the 10 new tourist destinations in Indonesia.

Amid the challenges, the Consulate General in Kuching continues to facilitate and bring delegates and tourists from Sarawak to Indonesia, including the official visit of the representative of the Sarawak Government to West Kalimantan and Sarawak entrepreneurs as well as motor vehicle tours.

In addition, the Consulate General of Kuching has organized a Fam Trip aimed at introducing and promoting Indonesias tourism potential to the media and travel agents from Sarawak.

He said Kuching is the capital of Sarawak State, which covers an area of 124,450 square kilometers, or some 80 percent of the island of Java.

"The total population of Sarawak reaches 2.7 million, and geographically, Sarawak is bordered by Indonesia, with the provinces of West Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, and North Kalimantan," he said.

He revealed that the geographical proximity had strengthened the relationship between Sarawak and Indonesia in terms of social community, culture, economy, and others.

Currently, three land border check posts -- Tebedu-Entikong, Aruk-Biawak, and Lubuk Antu-Nanga Badau -- were officially opened by the two governments.

Malaysia is one of the second-largest sources of foreign tourists for Indonesia. The number of Malaysian tourists visiting Indonesia during the January-August 2017 period had reached 786,861, an increase of 1.15 percent as compared to the same period in 2016.

In 2016, the number of Malaysian tourists visiting Indonesia had reached 1,225,458. Indonesias Ministry of Tourism has set a target to attract 17 million foreign tourists in 2017, of which two million are expected to come from Malaysia.

Based on statistical data from the Central Bureau of Statistics of West Kalimantan, 17,933 foreign tourists had arrived in West Kalimantan during the January-June 2017 period, up 23.06 percent, or 14,573 visits, recorded during the same period in 2016.

Meanwhile, 223,932 Indonesian citizens had visited Sarawak until June 2016 based on data from the Sarawak Immigration Office.


Reporter: Azis Kurmala
Editor: Bayu Kuncahyo
Copyright © ANTARA 2017